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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jul 14, 2006 8:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

It's a fair question, but I truly believe Keith's troubles had more to do w/interpersonal stuff w/Donna, the toll of the road travel and drugs on his psyche and body, and general wear and tear.

yeah, the 72-74 period is genius stuff, but I don't think Mickey threw Keith off as much as Keith threw himself off over time.

As regarding 1977, yep, i'm one of those '77 fetishists who believe the band was never better than that year, but I respectfully disagree that it was only b/c they were so tight in their nailing of the songs. (Part of the reason they WERE so tight, btw, is because the set lists they played were very very similar throughout the year, so they were very practiced and familiar w/the material they were playing, and that's about the only critcism I have for that year, and it's not much of one--i'd rather hear brilliantly played but similar set lists than sloppily-played, varied set lists--just my personal preference).

But 1977 was more than tight. The band had a groove and a flow and a fluidity and a relaxed approach that combined with sick and intense fiery jams. Can you really say otherwise when you listen to a random 'Other One' from say, June of that year, or Eyes from the fall run, or the insane Help-Slip_franklins? The Half Step from 11-6-77? I would put anything they played in 72-74 up against a '77 with total confidence that the '77 would include more intense jams (i.e. Jack Straw, Ramble, Sugar mag, Wharf Rat) in longer formats as well. One caveat: Can't recall any Birdsongs from that year, and they played the best Birdsongs ever in '72 and 73.

Other reasons '77 ruled the roost: A scarcity of lyrical flubs (always bothered me), the introduction of new material from Terrapin that would become instant classics, including some of the best terrapins themselves ever played, outstanding vocals from Garcia, and plenty of strong stuff from the aforementioned Keith, if you're lucky enough to have good recordings that allow the ear to hear them.

I concede that they didn't do the kind of space-jamming DarkStar stuff of 72-74 but in a way that's apples and oranges and simply subjective. I don't care to hear 17 minutes of space noodling and feedback and Phil solos leading into a morning dew when I can hear a ripping Other One into Stephen or Wharf Rat or Black Peter or Eyes, etc., into a just as good (i'd say better) Dew in the end.

BTW, all of this coming from someone who didn't see his first show until '79, so I'm not biased based on shows I personally went to. Just very adamant that while the band played scores of fantastic shows up until 1991 (I get very testy about the quality of anything after) they were never better overall and on average, than the incredible year of double 7.

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Poster: Spaced Date: Jul 14, 2006 9:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

>>lyrical flubs (always bothered me)>>

I found several of the "flubs" to be most revealing, as a cue or shedding light on another angle.

Not all of them were fun of course. I missed out on what they had at the beginning, but started catching up when I could sense the difficulties in "High Time" for example.

I read this week that Mickey said Jerry's chant for Allah in "Unusual Occurrances in the Desert" formed a desert chorus saying Allah, so there's plenty of close listening left to do.

-- Spaced in SF

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Poster: dstanme Date: Jul 16, 2006 2:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

grendelschoice, great post, man! Well writen, thoughtful and insighful, I agree with your assessment of the 77 shows. Although there are MANY 72-76 shows in my collection, the 77 spring run, specifically, and the year in general was an amazing period. Tight jams, healthy band members and creative musicianship seem to have been the key elenments.

Again, an excellent post!

This post was modified by dstan on 2006-07-16 21:40:01